Girl Severely Burned in Iraq Gets 2nd Chance After Stranger in Ohio Sees Her Photo
Barbara Marlowe was 6,000 miles away - but felt compelled to help the little girl.
A teenage girl who suffered severe burns in Iraq as a child got a new chance at life after a stranger in Ohio saw her photograph in a newspaper article.
"Teeba's eyes were so compelling it was as if they were saying, 'Help me,'" Barbara Marlowe told Inside Edition.
Teeba was just 5 when she was seriously injured in an explosion in war-torn Iraq in 2007.
"I remember for a brief moment was a very bright light," she said.
She was left with second- and third-degree burns across her head and face, and her hair was permanently lost.
"I always told my parents I wanted a wig because I didn’t want the kids to make fun of me," she said.
Teeba's photo ended up in a newspaper 6,000 miles away, where it was seen by Marlowe.
Marlowe, who lives in Cleveland with her husband Tim, was unable to have children of her own. Helping Teeba became her mission.
“It was all I thought about," she said.
She secured visas and lined up surgeons, and Teeba’s mother in Iraq made the heartbreaking decision to send her daughter to the U.S.
“It was a giant leap of faith. She's releasing her daughter to someone she never met," said Marlowe.
But Teeba said she immediately felt at ease in her new home.
"I definitely felt very safe and very loved from the moment I stepped off the plane into America. Everyone just wanted to help me," she said.
Teeba, who also appeared on "The Doctors" after her arrival in America, underwent 19 surgeries, including skin expanders, and as time passed, she embraced Marlowe as her second mother.
“I remember crying because I never thought I would hear those words. Hear someone call me 'Mom.' It was always bittersweet. Because even though I was her American mom I knew she had another mom," said Marlowe.
In 2015, the two families came together when Marlowe arranged a reunion with Teeba's mother.
"Both my moms are moms. There's no fake mom, real mom. There's no birth mom, raising mom. It's just Mom and Mom," Teeba said.
Now 17, Teeba is looking forward to college. She and Marlowe have written a book called "A Brave Face." Teeba hopes readers will be inspired by her story.
"'If she can do it, I can do it too.' That's what I'm hoping people see in me," she said.
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